A Michoacán teacher has accused the state governor of assault after an incident Tuesday in the beseiged city of Aguililla, where residents are being held hostage by two warring cartels.
Primary school teacher Fernando Padilla Vázquez and his son were in the city’s central plaza, holding placards urging an end to the violence, when Governor Silvano Aureoles arrived. He stepped off an army truck, strode directly to Padilla and shoved him hard in the stomach.
One of the people accompanying him quickly escorted the governor back to the truck amid jeers and shouts from citizens who had gathered for Aureoles’ visit.
He said later that the protesters were halconeros, or hawks, the word used to describe cartel lookouts, who had insulted the security forces who were accompanying him on his tour of the area. “… I decided to confront one of the agitators,” he wrote on Facebook.
But the incident hasn’t gone down well in Aguililla, which has been cut off for several months as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel battles the Cárteles Unidos for control of the area.
Supportive teachers and residents gathered at municipal headquarters in the city on Thursday. Among them was parish priest Rev. Gilberto Vergara, who said, “We are not hawks, we are the voice of the people, who are tired of so much violence and a government that does not defend them.”
Also on Thursday the teacher Fernando Padilla accused the state’s Ministry of Education of canceling the payment of his salary, in what some have suggested was retaliation for his criminal complaint against the governor.